Monday, April 30, 2012

Location, location, location

(Photo from

I often tell anyone who will listen that a huge part of the effectiveness of memorials, and, in fact, any type of public sculpture, is the siting. Sticking a bust of Beethoven outside of his birthplace has a lot more effect than it would in an Iowa cornfield (or- maybe not... that could become a destination in itself).
An excellent example of this comes from Bordeaux, France.
I found out about it in one today's post of one of my fave blogs- Invisible Bordeaux.
Now the strength here is that the statue of the hero of slave trade abolition is not only set in a prominent spot, but it also overlooks the docks where the French slave ships started their journeys to Africa to pick up their human cargo. There is a giant plaque on that dock that marks its role in this misery.
You can immerse yourself in both the nadir and triumph of the era in one short hop.
If this were on a streetcorner in the suburbs, it might get a glance or two, but here- it works on a whole other level.
The piece itself is a pretty standard bronze bust on a stand, but looking at the other work by the Haitan artist, Ludovic Booz, which is sleek and clear, I assume the reason that he chose this form was for historical connection. Would a modern piece have as much power or effect? Perhaps not..

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